Judge Einat Ron, the Petah Tikva magistrate who granted the gag order in the Anat Kam case has a sordid history going back to an infamous 2003 case in which she counseled the IDF how to lie to the Israeli NGO, B’Tselem, to avoid a wrongful death investigation. At that point, she was Colonel Ron of the IDF military prosecutor’s office and weighed in on the case in that capacity.
I thank Diane Mason of Lawrence of Cyberia for bringing this incident to my attention. Here is Chris McGreal’s Guardian report from 2003 (the killing occurred in 2001):
11-year-old Khalil al-Mughrabi was shot dead in Rafah by the Israeli army two years ago as he played football with a group of friends near the security fence. One of Israel’s most respected human rights organisations, B’Tselem, wrote to the judge advocate general’s office, responsible for prosecuting soldiers, demanding an inquiry. Months later, the office wrote back saying that Khalil was shot by soldiers who acted with “restraint and control” to disperse a riot in the area. However, the judge advocate general’s office made the mistake of attaching a copy of its own, supposedly secret, investigation which came to a quite different conclusion – that the riot had been much earlier in the day and the soldiers who shot the child should not have opened fire. The report says a “serious deviation from obligatory norms of behaviour” took place. In the report, the chief military prosecutor, Colonel Einat Ron, then spelled out alternative false scenarios that should be offered to B’Tselem. B’Tselem said the internal report confirmed that the army has a policy of covering up its crimes. “The message that the judge advocate general’s office transmits to soldiers is clear: soldiers who violate the ‘Open Fire Regulations’, even if their breach results in death, will not be investigated and will not be prosecuted.”
Diane also quotes from other sections of the B’Tselem report:
The documents presented in this report raise grave questions about the manner in which the army investigates itself. An eleven-year-old child was killed and two children were injured for no reason. However, the army failed to open any investigation against the soldiers responsible, even though all the army officials involved in the review of the incident clearly knew that the soldiers had used lethal weapons when their lives were not in jeopardy and had violated army regulations.
The army conducted a shallow and superficial inquiry, at all stages of the process, and made no effort to understand how the children were injured, to determine who was responsible, and to ensure that such incidents would not recur. All levels of the army hierarchy failed. The soldiers who violated the Open-Fire Regulations shot to death a child and injured two other children; the IDF Spokesperson provided an imprecise version of the incident (the Southern Command Judge Advocate even noted this in his opinion); the Southern Command Judge Advocate submitted an opinion that offered a version different from that stated in the operations de-briefings.
The Chief Military Prosecutor, Col. Einat Ron, went even further. In her legal opinion, she proposed an obviously false version of events as a reasonable course of action. The fact that she did not hesitate to propose, in writing, possible courses of action that clash with the truth raises a serious concern that lying is considered legitimate practice in the office of the Judge Advocate General.…
Which raises the obvious question: how does a chief military prosecutor guilty of promoting a false account of a lethal IDF firing incident get a promotion to become a civilian judge? But one question we don’t have to ask: why would the Israeli police shop its gag order application to Judge Ron? The answer is obvious even before asking the question. Here is an officer of the court so attuned to the needs of the prosecution that as a prosecutor she was fully prepared to lie on its behalf. Of course the Israeli police would want such a judge to hear their case. And the gag order was a slam dunk.
The next time any of my pro-Israel readers wish to argue that Israeli justice operates at a very high standard and protects the rights of individuals to free speech and human rights, let them first explain this holy mess of a case, and specifically Einat Ron, and how she got to be where she sits today as an honored member of the nation’s legal justice system.
In the U.S., such an individual would either have been disbarred for the counsel she offered or would at least have been brought up on charges. In Israel, she’s offered a promotion.
And doesn’t the illegal killing of Khalil al-Mughrabi bring us right back to the original crime for which Anat Kam leaked IDF documents and which Uri Blau published in Haaretz? They too were exposing the IDF’s illegal targeted killings of Palestinian militants in violation of an Supreme Court ruling. It seems that just as Einat Ron was covering up the IDF’s mess in 2003, she continues to cover up in 2010. It’s nice work if you can get it.
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- Some Israeli bloggers have taken down their posts re Anat Kam (mondoweiss.net)
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.